Reviews

The Firm

4

The footie-ist way…

You need a lot of balls – or not much brains – to remake Alan Clarke’s The Firm (1988), a gutsy made-for-TV drama about football hooliganism.

A lot of balls, not much brains... Especially if you’re Nick Love, a filmmaker routinely lambasted for glorifying violence, whose last film (revenge-posse flick Outlaw) was blasted as repugnant, irresponsible and reactionary.

Love’s The Firm is none of those things; it is his most mature movie to date and his best, too (not hard, his detractors will sneer, conveniently overlooking the many good things about The Business and Goodbye Charlie Bright).

It retains not just the era of Clarke’s original but a number of its key scenes too, nonetheless emerging as its own spittle-spraying beast thanks to Love’s smart decision to move peripheral character Dom front and centre.

Lairy and likeable, 17-year-old Dom (Calum McNab) is now our eyes and ears as he sidles his way into West Ham’s infamous Firm after brushing up against its fearsome leader Bex (Paul Anderson, good if no Gary Oldman) in a club. Dom is infatuated by the scene – the bars, the clothes, alpha-male Bex himself – but sickened by the violence. Not good when your Saturdays are dedicated to escalating turf wars…

Gifted his first lead after playing a small role in Love’s inferior companion piece The Football Factory, McNab is terrific, ably eliciting our sympathies throughout and successfully communicating Dom’s queasiness each time someone breaks out a bottle, hammer or knife. The gang wars are shot on the run and off the cuff, and it’s this refusal to linger or leer, married to McNab’s palpable fear and loathing, that makes The Firm work.

OK, so the rest of the film has a visual gloss that owes more to the pulsing ’80s soundtrack and the lurid sports clobber than Clarke’s scuffed, scrappy images, but this is a surprisingly strong remake. Nice one.
 

Verdict:

A fresh angle on a mini-classic. It’s about ’80s football violence, yes, but it’s also about today’s gang culture. And friendship and family. Nick Love shoots… and scores.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • bobshammers

      Sep 21st 2009, 15:36

      please for the love of god this movies is the biggest load of c**p ever and if you did want to watch a movie called The Firm watch the 1988 version.... oh and if you are re-making a movie like this dont change it keep it as is after all we are coming up to world cup year and the 1988 movie was all about getting all the firm's together to make a national firm for the world cup.... Nick love serious mate it time to move on the last good movie you made was The Football Factory since then they have gone downhill.... Oh ya and i'm a west ham fan and fill what you have done with The Firm is a shame and total film 5 stars for a film like this please you talk balls i think you need to grow some and do a review for this file that matches how carp it is and not on how much you love Nick love!!! Do Not Go And See This movie serious you will want your cash back and the 90 mins you have spent watching this added back to your life if you’re bored and want something hard hitting and you have never seen The Firm 1988 rent it or by it just don’t see the nick love version it pained me…..0 out of 5 stars

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    • bobshammers

      Sep 21st 2009, 15:37

      please for the love of god this movies is the biggest load of c**p ever and if you did want to watch a movie called The Firm watch the 1988 version.... oh and if you are re-making a movie like this dont change it keep it as is after all we are coming up to world cup year and the 1988 movie was all about getting all the firm's together to make a national firm for the world cup.... Nick love serious mate it time to move on the last good movie you made was The Football Factory since then they have gone downhill.... Oh ya and i'm a west ham fan and fill what you have done with The Firm is a shame and total film 5 stars for a film like this please you talk balls i think you need to grow some and do a review for this file that matches how carp it is and not on how much you love Nick love!!! Do Not Go And See This movie serious you will want your cash back and the 90 mins you have spent watching this added back to your life if you’re bored and want something hard hitting and you have never seen The Firm 1988 rent it or by it just don’t see the nick love version it pained me…..

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    • RaveyDaveyGravy

      Feb 23rd 2010, 10:48

      2

      not a patch on the original, why remake the same film in the same era and retain many of the scenes? This brings nothing new to the genre and Oldmans Bex was WAY more terrifying in 88. On a plus side the fight scenes were well managed and retained much of what is fascinating and appalling about real football violence. Love was on cruise control, try something new mate

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      4

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      Feb 22nd 2011, 2:16

      3

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